With the 2018 UCI Road World Championships still more than a month away, Australia have announced their line-ups for Innsbruck. Richie Porte and Amanda Spratt headline the men's and women's road race events, while Rohan Dennis has been confirmed to contest the men's time trial.
Ranked eighth and second in the men's and women's categories respectively, Australia have qualified for the full quota of riders. In line with the reduction of team sizes throughout the sport, the maximum number of riders for the men's teams will be eight, while that for the women's teams remains at seven.
"We know the course is going to be super tough and feel confident we have the right mix of talent and purpose for this event," said technical director Brad McGee. "We started this process thinking about how to win these races. Then we worked back from that endpoint and considered which riders had the capabilities to deliver on that strategy."
Following a broken collarbone sustained in a crash during the opening week of the Tour de France, Porte named the World Championships as his primary goal for 2018. He will ride the forthcoming Vuelta a España in order to get himself match-fit for the Worlds, which begin on September 23.
The team to support him is a mixture of climbers and powerful riders for the flats. In the engine room will be Rory Sutherland (UAE Team Emirates) and Damien Howson (Mitchelton-Scott). For the climbs, Porte has trade teammate Dennis along with Simon Clarke (EF Education First-Drapac), Jack Haig and Robert Power (Mitchelton-Scott) and Chris Hamilton (Team Sunweb).
Spratt goes into the women's road race as a major favourite following a strong season in which she has taken her second straight Santos Women's Tour and won the Emakumeen Bira. She also took third place at the Giro Rosa and claimed podium finishes at Amstel Gold Race and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
Shara Gillow (FDJ-Nouvelle Aquitaine Futuroscope) and trade teammate Lucy Kennedy will provide key support on the climbs. It will be Kennedy's first appearance at the World Championships and her participation comes after a challenging season that has twice seen her sidelined with broken bones.
26-year-old Grace Brown (Mitchelton-Scott) and 27-year-old Brodie Chapman (Team Tibco Silicon Valley) are also debutants at the World Championships. However, Tiffany Cromwell (Canyon-SRAM) brings a wealth of experience and returns to the event having missed out on selection last year.
Australia has also named a strong Under 23 men's line-up, which includes a number of WorldTour professionals and several that are due to make the step up next season. Lucas Hamilton (Mitchelton-Scott), Jai Hindley and Michael Storer (Team Sunweb) lead the way, with Mitchelton-BikeExchange riders Callum Scotson and Robert Stannard, while EF Education First stagiaire James Whelan completes the line-up. Scotson has been put forward as their representative in the time trial.
Australia for 2018 UCI Road World Championships
Men’s Road Race
Men’s Time Trial
Women’s Road Race
U23 Men’s Road Race
U23 Men’s Time Trial